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BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

THE MAN SHAKESPEARE and His
Tragic Life Story. Demy 8vo., ys. 6d. net.

THE ELDER CON KLIN and other Stories.
Demy 8vo, 5s. net.

MONTES THE MATADOR and other
Stories. Demy 8vo, 5s. net.

THE BOMB : A Novel. Crown 8vo, 6s.

THE WOMEN OF SHAKESPEARE.

In thi Press.



SHAKESPEARE

AND HIS LOVE

A PLAY IN FOUR ACTS
AND AN EPILOGUE



BY



FRANK HARRIS

{Author of "The Man Shakespeare,"
" The Women of Shakespeare," etc.).




LONDON :

FRANK PALMER,

RED LION COURT, E.G.



First published November, 1910.

all rights reserved.
Copyrighted in tht United States of Amttica



INTRODUCTION

The National Shakespeare Memorial Com-
mittee, it is announced, is about to produce
a new play by Mr. Bernard Shaw entitled
*' The Dark Lady of the Sonnets." Fourteen
years ago, provoked by the nonsense Mr.
Shaw was then writing about Shakespeare
in The Saturday Review, I wrote some articles
on Shakespeare in the same paper, in which
I showed in especial that Hamlet was a good
portrait of Shakespeare, for the master had
unconsciously pictured Hamlet over again as
Macbeth and Jaques, Angelo, Orsino, Lear,
Posthumus, Prospero and other heroes.
With admirable quickness Mr. Bernard Shaw
proceeded to annex as much of this theory of
mine as he thought important ; in preface after
preface to his plays, notably in the preface to



545 97 7



vi. INTRODUCTION.

** Man and Superman," he took my discovery
and used it as if it were his. For instance, he
wrote : —

" He (Shakespeare) must be judged by those
characters into which he puts what he knows
of himself, his Hamlets and Macbeths and
Lears and Prosperos."

And again : —

" All Shakespeare's projections of the
deepest humanity he knew have the same
defect " — and so forth and so on.

In the preface to " Three Plays for Puritans "
Mr. Shaw gave me a casual mention, just
sufficient to afford him a fig-leaf, so to
speak, of covering if the charge of plagiarism
were brought against him : " His (Shake-
speare's) genuine critics," he wrote, " from
Ben Jonson to Mr. Frank Harris, have always
kept as far on this side idolatry as I."

Six or seven years ago I wrote a play called



INTRODUCTION. vii.

" Shakespeare and his Love," which was
accepted by Mr. Beerbohm Tree. As Mr.
Tree did not produce the play at the time
agreed upon, I withdrew it. Some time
afterwards, on the advice of a friend, I sent it
to the Vedrenne-Barker management. They
read it ; but Mr. Barker, I was told, did not
like the part of Shakespeare. I wrote, there-
fore, asking for the return of the play. Mr.
Vedrenne, in reply, told me that he admired
the play greatly, and still hoped to induce Mr.
Barker to play it. He asked me, therefore, to
leave it with him. A little while later I met
Mr. Shaw in the street ; he told me that he,
too, had read my play which I had sent to the
Court managers, and added, '' you have repre-
sented Shakespeare as sadder than he was, I
think ; but you have shown his genius, which
everyone else has omitted to do. . . ."

Last year I published a book entitled The



viii. INTRODUCTION.

Man Shakespeare, which was in essence an
amplification of my articles in The Saturday
Review. A considerable portion of this book had
been in print ten years. The work had a certain
success in England and America. This year I
have published in The English Review a series
of articles on The Women of Shakespeare, which
one of the first of living writers has declared
marks an epoch in English criticism.

Now Mr. Shaw has written a play on the
subject, which I have been working on for
these fifteen years, and from what he has said
thereon in The Observer it looks as if he had
annexed my theory bodily so far as he can
understand it, and the characters to boot.
After talking about his play and Shakespeare's
passion, and using words of mine again and
again as if they were his own, he acknowledges
his indebtedness to me in this high-minded
and generous way :



INTRODUCTION. ix.

** The only English writer who has really
grasped this part of Shakespeare's story is
Frank Harris ; but Frank sympathises with
Shakespeare. It is like seeing Semele reduced
to ashes and sympathising with Jupiter."

This is equivalent to saying that all the
other parts of Shakespeare's story have been
grasped by someone else, presumably by Mr.
Shaw himself, and not by me. It is as if Mr.
Cook had said, " the only American who really
knows anything about Polar exploration is
Captain Peary, though he uses his knowledge
quite stupidly." One can imagine that such
testimony from such an authority would have
been very grateful to Captain Peary.

This precious utterance of Mr. Shaw shows
further that in his version of the story he is
going to take the side of Mary Fitton against
Shakespeare ; he will therefore defend or at
least explain her various marriages and her



X. INTRODUCTION.

illegitimate children by different fathers, none
of whom happened to be married to her.

Mr. Shaw's sole contribution to our know-
ledge of Shakespeare is the coupling of him
with Dickens, which is very much the same
thing as if one tried to explain Titian by
coupling him with Hogarth. This, in my
opinion, is Mr. Shaw's only original observation
on the subject, and its perfect originality I
should be the last to deny.

I have not yet read or seen Mr. Shaw's play :
I only wish here to draw attention to the fact
that he has already annexed a good deal of my
work and put it forth as his own, giving me
only the most casual and grudging mention.
From the larger acknowledgment in The
Observer, I naturally infer that in this new
play he has taken from me even more than
he could hope to pass off as his own.

All this in the England of to-day is looked



INTRODUCTION. xi.

upon as honourable and customary. If Mr.
Shaw can annex my work it only shows that
he is stronger than I am or abler, and this fact
in itself would be generally held to absolve and
justify him : vae victis is the noble English
motto in such cases. But if it turns out in the
long struggle that Mr. Shaw is only more
successful for the moment than I am, if
my books and writings on Shakespeare have
come to stay, then I can safely leave the task
of judging Mr. Shaw to the future.

In any case I can console myself. It amused
me years ago to see Mr. Shaw using scraps of
my garments to cover his nakedness ; he now
struts about wearing my livery unashamed. I
am delighted that so little of it makes him a
complete suit. My wardrobe is still growing
in spite of his predatory instincts, and he is
welcome to as much of it as I have cast off and
he can cut to fit.



xii. INTRODUCTION.

But is this the best that Mr. Shaw can do with
his astonishing quickness and his admirable
gift of lucid, vigorous speech ? Will he, who is
not poor, always be under our tables for the
crumbs ? Why should he not share the feast,
or, better still, make a feast of his own ? Why
does he not take himself in hand, and crush
the virtue out of himself and distil it into some
noble draught ? The quintessence of Shaw
would be worth having.

I can afford on this matter to be wholly frank
and ingenuous, and admit that I am gratified
by the ability of my first disciples. Any writer
might be proud of having convinced men of
original minds like Mr. Arnold Bennett, Mr.
Richard Middleton, and Mr. Bernard Shaw of
the truth of a theory so contrary to tradition
as mine is and so contemptuous of authority :
Shakespeare himself would have been proud of
such admirers. And if Mr. Bernard Shaw has



INTRODUCTION. xiii.

done his best to share in the honour of the dis-
covery, one must attribute his excess of zeal to
the intensity of his admiration, and to the fact
that he was perhaps even a little quicker than
the others to appreciate the new view, or
perhaps a little vainer even than most able men.
In any case, Mr. Shaw's method of dealing with
a new master must be contrasted with that of the
professor who also annexed as much as he
could of my early articles, and coolly asserted
that he had had my ideas ten years before,
leaving it to be inferred that he had concealed
them carefully.

After all, the chief thing is, here is my play,
and Mr. Shaw's will shortly make its appear-
ance, and in time a true deliverance and judg-
ment on the respective merits of them will be
forthcoming.

A few words about this play of mine may be
allowed me. It suffers from an extraordinary, and



xiv. INTRODUCTION.

perhaps extravagant, piety : I did not set out to
write a great play on the subject. I wanted to give
a dramatic picture of Shakespeare and his time ;
but above all a true picture. It seemed to me
that no one had the right to treat the life-story,
the soul-tragedy of a Shakespeare as the mere
stuff of a play. Within the limits of the truth,
however, I did my best. The play, therefore,
as a play is full of faults : it is as loosely put
together as one of Shakespeare's own history
plays, and the worst fault of it is not poverty
of plot and weakness of construction ; it is also
academic and literary in tone. Much of this is
due to my love of the master. I have hardly put
a word in Shakespeare's mouth which I could
not justify out of his plays or sonnets. My
excessive love of the man has been a hindrance
to me as a playwright.

I daresay — in fact, I am sure — that it would
be possible to write a great play on the subject,



INTRODUCTION. xv.

and tell even more of the truth than I have
here told ; but that could only be done if one
knew that the play would be played and had
leisure and encouragement to do one's best.
The evil of our present civilisation, from the
artist's point of view, is that he is compelled by
the conditions to give of his second best, and
be thankful if even this is lucky enough to earn
him a living wage.

My book on Shakespeare was many years
in type before it found a publisher ; my
Shakespeare play was printed six years ago
and has not yet been acted.

FRANK HARRIS.

London y i^th November, igio.



THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY

ROBERT CECIL, LORD BURGHLEY

THE EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON

LORD WILLL'XM HERBERT (afterwards Earl of

Pembroke).
KINGSTON LACY, EARL OF LINCOLN, an Euphuist
SIR JOHN STANLEY
SIR WALTER RALEIGH
MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

FRANCIS BACON

BEN JONSON

FLETCHER

RICHARD BURBAGE

MARSTON

CHETTLE, the prototype of Falstaff.

DEKKER

WILLIE HUGHES

SELDEN

DR. HALL, Shakespeare's son-in-law

MASTER FRY, the Host of the "Mitre "

QUEEN ELIZABETH

LADY RUTLAND, Sidney's sister

LADY JANE WROTH

LADY CYNTHIA DARREL

LADY JOAN NEVIL

MISTRESS MARY FITTON, Shakespeare's Love

VIOLET VERNON

QUINEY \ ^, , ^ . V,.

' TJAT T I Shakespeare s daughters

COURTIERS AND SERVANTS

B



SHAKESPEARE AND HIS
LOVE

ACT I

Scenes I - VII The Stage of the Globe Theatre.
,, VIII-X The Antechamber at Court

ACT II

Scenes I - II In the ''Mermaid''

,, III -VI In the Gardens of St. James's

Palace by moonlight

ACT III

Scenes I - IV In the ''Mitre" Tavern

,, V - VI A Room in Lord William

Herbert's Lodgings

ACT IV

Scenes I - IV In the " Mitre " Tavern
,, V - VI The Throne Room at Court

THE EPILOGUE

Scenes I - II A Bedchamber in Shake-
speare's House at Stratford

Time
Acts I, II, III and IV take
place in the summer of 1598
The Epilogue in April y 16 16



ACT I



Scene I.

The tiring-room behind the stage of the Globe
theatre after a performance of " The Merchant of
Venice."

[As the curtain goes up an attendant is dis-
covered listening at door L. There is a noise to
he heard as of persons leaving the theatre : as the
door is thrown open the attendant moves aside.
The Earl of Southampton, Lord Lacy, Sir John
Stanley, Chapman, Dekker, Marston, Fletcher,
John Selden and Burbage enter.]

Sir John Stanley :

[Flinging in.] What a foolish play ! And
what a spendthrift merchant !

Chapman :

Trivial, I found it. Trivial and silly.

Lacy :

[With graceful gesture.] Most excellent in
invention, liberal in conceit. The Jew a gem, a
g^em, I say — a balass ruby of rich Orient blood !



8 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.

Dekker :

Pretty, perhaps, but tedious ! Tedious — as a
rival's praise, eh, Chapman?

Southampton :

Ah, Master Burbage, you outdid yourself as
Shylock. When you sharpened the knife, we all
shivered.

Burbage :

I'm much beholden to your lordship.

Fletcher :

[To Lord Lacy] The scene between the lovers
in the moonlight was not ill-conceived. That
Lorenzo had something of Shakespeare in him.

Lacy :

And Jessica ! The name's a perfume. A
flower, Jessica, of most rare depicture, dear to
fancy, responsive to a breath !

Dekker :

[Aside to Fletcher.] Has the gull any meaning?

Selden :

His words, Dekker, are like his dress : too
choice for ease, too rich for service : but he's of
great place, and friend to Essex.



ACT I., SCENE I. 9

Fletcher :

[To Southampton.] The end's weak, and the
merchant too much the saint.

Dekker :

Saints are always tiresome unless they're
martyred.

Southampton :

And detractors, unless they're witty.

Lacy :

[Reproachfully.] A cannon-ball as a retort!
Fie, fie, my lord Southampton. A little salve of
soft disdain obliterates the sting, and no one
shoots at midges.

[Enter Shakespeare, who takes a seat apart.]

Southampton :

[Moving aside, with Lacy, waves his hand to
Shakespeare.] Good ! good !

Sir John Stanley :

Give me an English play. Why can't we have
a play where we thrash the Spaniards? Curse
Venice ! What's Venice to me ! [Exit, accom-
panied by Marston and Dekker; Fletcher and
Chapman follow.]



lo SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.



Scene H.
Chettle :

[To Shakespeare.] Did ye hear that?

Shakespeare :
No! What?

Chettle :

The truth, Will — the truth in the mouth of
a suckling ! They all want an English play and
Falstaff. Without him, my lad, the spirit's out
of the sack — all stale and flat.

Shakespeare :

Would you have onions with every dish,
Chettle, even with the sweets?

Chettle :

In faith 'tis a seasoning and healthy weed — and
provokes thirst, go to ! But why can't you be
gay, lad, gay as you used to be and write us an-
other comedy with Falstaff and his atomy page?

Shakespeare :

Laughter and youth go together, Chettle, and
I am too old for comedies.



i



ACT I., SCENE II. II

Chettle :

It makes my flesh creep to hear you ; but I'll
not be sad : I'll not think of age and the end,
I'll not — . Ah, lad, you'll never be popular with-
out Falstaff.

Shakespeare :
And why not?

Chettle :

'Tis his wit pleases the many.

Shakespeare :

Wit ! — when wit buys popularity, honesty shall
win fortune, and constancy love : the golden days
are long past, I fear. [Turns from Chettle, who
goes out, taking Burbage and Selden with him.]



Scene III.
Southampton :

The play was excellent.

Lacy :

A carcanet of diverse colours — of absolute
favour.

Southampton :

But the playwrights are not your friends.



12 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.

Shakespeare :

I have befriended most of them.

Lacy :

A double reason for repugnance — ingratitude
the point, envy the barb !

Southampton :

[To Shakespeare.] A fine play, Shakespeare,
but you seem cast down. Is all well with you
in your home?

Shakespeare :

Thanks to you : more than well. My father's
debts all paid ; the best house in the village
bought for my mother

Southampton ;

Come, then, throw off this melancholy — 'tis
but a humour.

Lacy :

And let the wit play like lightning against the
clouds. Or, better still, exhort him, my lord, to
seek a new love ; 'tis love that lifts to melody and
song, and gives the birds their music.

Southampton :

You are often with Herbert, are you not?



ACT I., SCENE III. 13

Shakespeare :
Yes.

Southampton :

Don't build too much on him ! You'll be de-
ceived.

Shakespeare :

To me he's perfect. In beauty a paragon, in
wit unfellow'd.

Southampton :

I would not trust him ; he's selfish.

Lacy :

Most insensitive-hard.

Shakespeare :

[Turns to Lacy.] Youth, youth, my lord ! We
do not blame the unripe fruit for hardness ; a few
sunny days will mellow it, and turn the bitter to
juicy sweet.

Southampton :

What a friend you are, Shakespeare ! You
find excuses for everyone.

Lacy :

But those who trust too much are like the rathe
flowers, frost-blighted.



14 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.

Southampton :

Here comes Mistress Violet — we'll take leave
of you. I was telling Shakespeare, lady, how
fair you are.



Scene IV.
Violet :

[Curtsying.] I thank you humbly, my lord.
[Exit Southampton and Lacy bowing low.]

Shakespeare :

[Smiling.] At last, Violet.

Violet :

[Moving to him and giving her mouth.] Am I
so late? Did I wrong to come?

Shakespeare :
No, no !

Violet :

There was such a crowd I did not dare to come
at first, and yet I could not stay away ; I could
not. I wanted to tell you how wonderful it all
was.



ACT I., SCENE IV. 15

Shakespeare :

I am glad it pleased you.

Violet :

"Pleased me!" What poor, cold words. The
play was entrancing ; but you were the Merchant,
were you not? And so sad. Why are you
always sad now?

Shakespeare :

I know not. As youth passes we see things
as they are, and our high dreams of what might
be become impossible.

Violet :

Never impossible, or we could not dream them.

Shakespeare :

I hoped so once ; but now I doubt. How
golden-fair you are !

Violet :

You are always kind ; but it's not kindness I
want. I'd rather you were unkind and jealous.
But you are never jealous, never unkind.

Shakespeare :
You'd rather I were jealous — unkind?



i6 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.

Violet :

Much rather. 'Twould prove you care !

Shakespeare :

Why do you shiver?

Violet :

We women feel the winter before it comes,
like the birds.

Shakespeare :

Women ! You sensitive child.

Violet :

Not a child when I think of you. I used to
look at myself and imagine that some day a man
would kiss me and play with me and make a toy
of me, and I wondered whether I should like it ;
but I never dreamed that I would ever want to
touch a man. But now, I love to be near you ;
my King, how good it is to be with you. But
the winter's coming. [Shivers.]

Shakespeare :

You must not think that, Violet, nor say it.
It's your love breeds those fears.

Violet :

[Pouting.] Why did you not put me in this
play?



ACT I., SCENE IV. 17

Shakespeare :

I did : you know I did. You were Jessica,
happy, loving Jessica, and I, Lorenzo, ran away
with you and talked of music and the stars by
moonlight in front of Portia's house.

Violet :

How kind you are ! What a pity you don't
love me ! But then love is always one-sided,
they say. Ah, some day Who's Portia?

Shakespeare :
Portia ?

\'iolet :

[Rouses herself.] Yes, Portia. W^ho were you
thinking of when you described Portia? vShe's
one of your new friends, I suppose, one of the
great Court ladies. H'm ! They're no better
than we are. Some of them were at the play
but now talking with Kempe, the clown. Ladies,
indeed ! trulls would behave better.

Shakespeare :

My gentle Violet, in a rage.

Violet :

Oh, they make me angry. Why can't they be
noble? I mean pure and sweet and gentle,

c



i8 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.

instead of laughing loud and using coarse words
like those women did to-day. Was Portia one

of them?

Shakespeare :

No, Violet, no. I meant Portia to be a great
lady. Her carriage and manner I took from
someone I once saw at a distance — a passing
glance : but the wit and spirit I had no model
for, none.

Violet :

You will love one of them, I know. Perhaps,
by speaking of it, I put the thought into your
head, and bring the danger nearer ; but I cannot
help it.

Shakespeare :

Love is its torment.

Violet :

Oh, dear, dear ! You will not leave me alto-
gether, will you? Even if you love her, you will
let me see you sometimes. No one will ever
love you as I do. I only love myself because you
like me, and when you leave me, I'll fall out of
conceit with my face, and hate it. Hateful face,
that could not please my lord.



ACT I., SCENE IV. 19

Shakespeare ;

[Puts his hand on her shoulder.] Vain torment !
In this frail hooped breast love flutters and
bruises herself like a bird in a cage.

Violet :

When you are near, the pain turns to joy.

Shakespeare :

I know ; I know, so well. I'm making you
the heroine of the new play I told you of —
" Twelfth Night " ; your name, too, shall be hers,
Viola ; but now you must go : I hear them
coming.

Violet :

Farewell, Farewell. If I could only be a dozen
women to please you, so that you might not think
of Portia, hateful Portia! [Exit Violet.]



20 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.



Scene V.

BURBAGE :

[Entering hurriedly.] Farce and tragedy and
escape. A play within a play.

Fletcher :

[Enters just behind him, followed by Dekker,
Marston, Chettle and Hughes.] A great scene !
The revolt of the groundlings. Didn't you hear
them shouting, Shakespeare?

Shakespeare :
I heard nothing.

Fletcher :

Self-absorbed as ever.

Dekker :

[Sneeringly.] Lost on Parnassus!

Shakespeare :

What was it, Fletcher?

Fletcher :

A scene for Dekker. The orange-girls have
been pelting the ladies in their rooms. The
ladies gibed at them, and they replied with rotten
fruit. The ladies shrieked, and hid themselves ;



ACT I., SCENE V. 21

all but one, who stood in front and outfaced the
furies — a queen !

Shakespeare :

Are they safe? Where are they now?

BURBAGE :

The lords Southampton and Lacy arc bringing
them : here they come.

[Enter three ladies, masked, and Lords South-
ampton and Lacy, followed by Selden.]



Scene VI.
Lacy :

At length Beauty's piloted to the safety of the
stage. And without straining extolment I proclaim
that never did lady [bowing to the tallest] show
more innocence of fear, more exornation of com-
posure.

Miss Fitton :

Why should one fear an orange or an angry
slut ! Is this part of the stage? [Looking round.]



22 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.

Lacy :

The veritable and singular stage of the re-
nowned Globe, where actors, playwrights, poets
fleet the hours with rich discourse and jewelled
melodies.

Miss Fitton :

And naughty stories, I'll be sworn.

Southampton :

If you'll unhood, ladies, we'll present new
courtiers to you, Princes of this realm.

[The ladies hesitate.]

Miss Fitton :

[Stands out and swings back her hood.] That's
soon done ! Ouf ! [Lets her eyes range.]

Lady Jane Wroth :

'Tis easy for you, Mary, but I'm all in a
twitter, and red like a cit's wife.

Lady Rutland :

Mary's right : if you're going into the water
you may as well jump in. [Throws back her
hood. ] But how they stare !

Lacy :

Pray, my lord, officiate.



ACT I., SCENE VI. 23

Southampton :

As Master o' Ceremonies, then, I make it
known to all that Lady Rutland and Lady Jane
Wroth, and Mistress Mary Fitton, the youngest
and bravest of the Queen's maids of honour, are
new come to the Globe. Ladies, this is Master
Burbage, who counterfeits kings with such
nobility, and lovers with such reverence, that
ladies lend him their lips in either part. And this
is gentle Shakespeare, the wittiest of poets,
whose sugared verses make all in love with
sweets. And this is Master Chettle, playwright
and Prince of Laughter. Here, too, is grave
young Selden, and Masters Fletcher, Dekker,
Marston, the glories of our stage.

Lacy :

And now, gentlemen, with what most cunning
art or inviolate mystery will you charm the visit-
ing fair? Thrones, there, thrones, the ladies will
sit.

Miss Fitton :

[.45 they sit down.] But where is Master
Kempe, the clown? I want to see him dance.
I swear when he takes the floor in the Coranto
and mimics dignity, I could die of laughing. He



24 SHAKESPEARE AND HIS LOVE.

did not come with us ! Oh, what a lack : we
might have seen him jig.

Lacy :

Shall we seduce your ears with vocal har-
monies, fair lady, or chant in the round to lute
or viol?

Southampton :

Will you, Shakespeare, sing first? [Shake-
speare, as if speechless, with a gesture of the
hand, draws hack, still gazing at Miss Fitton.
Southampton turns to Miss Fitton.^ Shall it be
a song of love or war?

Miss Fitton :

I prefer fighting or laughing to languishing.

Lady Jane Wroth :

[Affectedly.^ And I love — women were made
for love.

Lady Rutland :

Any song for a single voice.

Marston :

[To Fletcher.] A song, Fletcher !


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